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Soul of the Border

Soul of the Border

Matteo Righetto

  • awardShortlisted, The John Florio Prize for Italian Translation, United Kingdom, 2020
  • Translated by Howard Curtis

    Jole is fifteen the first time she accompanies her father, Augusto, as he smuggles tobacco across the Italian border into Austria. She knows the dangers of the treacherous high mountain passes—border guards, brigands, wild animals, ferocious weather—but she is proud that her father asks her. Life is hard, and without the extra money Augusto’s smuggling brings in, the family would starve.

    When Augusto disappears during one of his trips, Jole must retrace the route he took, seeking a buyer for her family’s tobacco—and the truth behind her father’s disappearance.

    Soul of the Border is an epic story of revenge and salvation, a ferocious tale ofviolence and corruption, and a journey into the wild.


    SBS Italian (interview: Italian language)

    Matteo Righetto
    About the Author

    Matteo Righetto was born in in 1972 in Padua, where he teaches literature. He is the author of four novels, which have been translated into many languages. His most recent novel, La Pelle dell’Orso (The Bear Skin) is a bestseller in Italy and has been made into a feature film. Soul of the Border is the first of his works to be published in...

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    About the Translator

    Howard Curtis has translated more than a hundred books from French, Italian and Spanish, ranging from classic authors to contemporary fiction.

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    Text publication date:
    29 October 2018
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    Praise for Matteo Righetto
    andSoul of the Border

    ‘[A] taut, stylish novel…Will appeal to fans of Cormac McCarthy, and it almost reads like a European version of a western. A stark and beautiful natural setting, strong female protagonist, and the rhythm and raw economy of the prose make Soul of the Border seductive.’

    ‘Matteo Righetto’s writing is clear and sharp as the mountain horizon…It is a story both harsh and delicate, multifaceted as a precious stone, seductive as the land of the high Brenta Valley…We hear the rhythm of Hemingway between the pages, and the raw realism of Cormac McCarthy.’

    ‘A novel in which you hear the howling of the wolf, the hooting of the owl, the humming of insects in the meadows; in which you feel nature talking and moving, and all the passions and impulses of men…Matteo Righetto shows us the consequences of crossing the frontier…Once it is crossed, the reader, like the characters, will never be the same again.’

    ‘A mix of Cormac McCarthy-esque brutalist writing with a coming-of-age story…’

    Other editions ofSoul of the Border
    • Soul of the Border
      ISBN: 9781925626919
      29 October 2018
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